Child Single Point Of Access

Children’s SPOA Services 

For families and service providers who are seeking help for a child with an emotional disability who is at risk.
CSPOA brochure.pdf

Here is a brief list of the services that can only be accessed through the Children’s SPOA. Participation is voluntary, and services are provided at no cost to families.  Due to demand, some services may have a waiting list.

  • Non-Medicaid Care Management for individuals who do not have Medicaid. Choice of provider includes the following:
  • Community Crisis Intervention (CCI) (referral for this service can also be made through Niagara County Crisis Services if crisis services involvement occurs). This services is provided by New Directions Youth & Family Services. CCI provides intensive short-term home- and community-based services to families with one or more Seriously Emotionally Disturbed (SED) youth at imminent risk of psychiatric hospitalization or out-of-home placement. CCI assists youth and families to cope with and prevent crisis situations that lead to psychiatric hospitalization or out-of-home placement. CCI provides:
    • referral and linkage to supports, services and treatment;
    • care coordination;
    • monitoring of needs and service effectiveness;
    • advocacy;
    • social support; and
    • crisis intervention services
  • Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). This service is provided by Child & Family Services.  Youth ACT is a program designed to address the significant needs of children ages 10 up to 21, who are at risk of entering, or returning home from high intensity services, such as inpatient settings or residential services, through the use of a multi-disciplinary team. Children with significant psychiatric needs, who are at risk of institutional level of care, require intensive interventions in order to adequately support the child and family’s complex needs, to avoid high end services or facilitate and support a successful transition back to community. Youth ACT serves as a critical component in the children’s continuum of care.
  • Children’s Mental Health Housing (Residential Treatment Facilities and Community Residences)
  • Family Peer Support Services for individuals who do not have Medicaid or those who have Medicaid but do not meet eligibility for this service under the Child and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) for Family Peer Support Services. A Family Peer Support Specialist provides individualized support to parents/caregivers of youth with mental health/behavioral health needs. Services include: advocacy, engagement, parent skill development, and community connection. Group meetings are also held. This service is provided by New Directions Youth & Family Services
    • For more information, contact New Directions Youth & Family Services Family Peer Support Director at (716) 535- 1745 or a direct referral can made through this link.
Referral Process (updated as of January 1, 2023)

The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors (CLMHD) have launched two new universal referral applications to help simplify access to Children’s-Single Point of Access and intensive mental health services for youth.

Introducing Two New Applications

Children’s-Single Point of Access (C-SPOA) Application Part 1. This application is for referring a youth and their family for C-SPOA coordination.  C-SPOA Coordinators help coordinate access to services and supports for youth with unmet mental health needs. There is a C-SPOA Coordinator in every county. This application asks for general information about a youth’s demographics and mental health needs.

C-SPOA Application Part 2: Accessing Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Children’s Community Residence (CCR), and Residential Treatment Facility (RTF.) This application is for referring a youth for Youth ACT, CCR or RTF services. The application requests more detailed information around a youth’s mental health needs and provides the requirements for documentation to support any needs noted.

New C-SPOA Application Part 1 and Part 2 are below. You may also request copies by calling the Niagara County C-SPOA program at (716) 438-3071 or by emailing 

Please submit completed applications by one of the following methods to:
          Attention: Niagara County Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPOA) Program
          By mail: 5467 Upper Mountain Rd. Suite 200, Lockport, NY 14094
          By email:
          By fax: (716) 439-7418

Key Application Submission Changes

  • There is one application statewide for C-SPOA coordination (the consent forms attached to the application on this site is specific to Niagara County)
  • Use the C-SPOA Part 1 and Part 2 applications to apply for Youth ACT, CCR and RTF service access statewide
  • Send applications for C-SPOA Coordination and Youth ACT, CCR and RTF to the youth’s local C-SPOA

Are there any resources available to help complete the new applications?
Please see the infographic on the application referral process changes. Brief tutorials are available at the links below to assist with completing the applications.

What do I do if I am in the middle of completing a referral for Youth ACT, CCR or RTF?
If you are currently working on a referral using old referral forms, your referral will be accepted by C-SPOA through the end of March 2023. For future referrals, please update the forms you have on file to these new forms. (The most current application forms will be kept on this site).

Why are changes to Youth ACT, CCR and RTF referral processes occurring? 
When applications are sent to a youth’s local C-SPOA Coordinator, this ensures that C-SPOA  is connected to  youth and families with unmet needs. C-SPOAs then guide youth and their families through service options and referral processes. One application for Youth ACT, CCR and RTF services is easier to complete. It will also allow youth, their families, and referral sources to learn more quickly about eligibility for these program types.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Niagara County Children's SPOA Program at (716) 438 - 3071 or or to the following:

 Division of Integrated Community Services for Children and Families
Office of Mental Health
(518) 474-8394 |

Other community based services available that do not require referral through Children's SPOA and are accessed by contacting the provider agency directly: Please contact the Niagara County C-SPOA program by phone at (716) 438-3071 or by email at if you have any questions related to the services listed below and /or if you need further assistance understanding available services, supports and treatment that may be available to you to meet your child's / youth's and families needs. 
  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) accessed through a care management provider:

    HCBS are Medicaid services that give children and youth with intensive care needs the choice to stay in their home and communities. HCBS are for children who, without these supportive services, would require the level of care provided in a more restrictive setting, such as a residential treatment facility, nursing home or psychiatric inpatient care.

    Click here for listing of providers and specific HCBS services offered.
           HCBS Waiver Information for children/youth and families
  • Children and Youth Evaluation Services (C-YES)  C-YES is a statewide program that determines whether a child/youth (under age 21) is eligible for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) for children who do not currently have Medicaid or for children who opt-out of the Health Home Serving Children’s program. To make a referral or learn more information click here
  • Child and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS):  

    Children and Youth (under the age 21) who are covered by Medicaid and have mental health and/or substance use needs, goal of identifying needs early, providing various levels of support in the home and community, and preventing the need for emergency room visits, hospital stays or out of home placements.

    Click here for listing of providers and specific CFTSS services offered. 

  • Health Home Care Management (HHCM) for individuals with Medicaid. (Services can also be accessed through C-SPOA referral as many of the HHCM agencies are part of the C-SPOA committee). 

    A "Health Home" is a group of health care and service providers working together to make sure your child and family get the care/services needed to stay healthy. Once enrolled in a Health Home, you will have a care manager that works with you to develop a care plan. A care plan maps out the services you need, to put you on the road to better health. Some of the services may include:

    - Connecting to health care, mental health and substance abuse services;
    - Help with addressing housing needs, obtaining Social services (such as food, benefits, and transportation) or, connecting with other community  programs that can support and assist you.

    In order to be eligible for services, the individual must be enrolled in Medicaid and must have: Two or more chronic conditions (e.g., Substance Use Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes, etc.) OR One single qualifying chronic condition (HIV/AIDS OR Serious Emotional Disturbance - SED) OR Complex Trauma OR Sickle Cell Disease .

     Health Homes serving Niagara County partner with a variety of care management agencies who provide care management services. 
  • Mobile Integration Team (MIT) services provided by WNY Children's Psychiatric Center 

    Short Term Services to bridge service gaps. Offers brief therapeutic support, skill building, crisis assessment and intervention (not 24/7), consultation and information, peer support and skills training, family and caregiver support and skill building, behavioral support and consultation, and in home and community based respite. 

    WNY CPC MIT Referral Form

  • Multisystemic Therapy (MST) services provided by Catholic Charities of WNY. MST, is designed to help youth ages 10 to 17 in Niagara County who are experiencing chronic problematic behaviors, such as truancy, verbal and/or physical aggression, running away and criminal activity. The goal of MST is to set the youth on track for success and to give caregivers the tools they need to navigate any future relapses. MST is facilitated by master’s-level therapists who work with families in their home, school and community multiple times a week to achieve positive changes. Treatment is intensive and typically lasts about 3 to 5 months. Therapists’ schedules are flexible to ensure that they can meet around the caregivers’ availability, as well as provide support during times of need. Additionally, therapists offer an on-call service, which provides seamless support 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • In-Home Respite services provided by the Mental Health Association in Niagara County. The Respite Program through the Mental Health Association provides free childcare to families with a child (or children) with a current mental health diagnosis and their siblings. Respite can reduce the family's overall stress level and increase the caregiver's ability to provide childcare that best suits the needs of their children.
  • Family Peer Support Services for families with Medicaid. Services provided by a Family Peer Advocate to provide individualized support to parents/caregivers of youth with mental health/behavioral health needs. Services include: advocacy, engagement, parent skill development, and community connection. Please see more information on Family Peer Support Services under the Child and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) link
    • For information on New Directions Youth & Family Services Family Peer Support Services, contact the Family Peer Support Director at (716) 535-1745 or make a referral through this link.

Funding for C-SPOA is provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Niagara County Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services.

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What is the Children's Single Point of Access (CSPOA)?
CSPOA was created to identify Niagara County’s youth who are most at risk and develop strategies to maintain them in the community.  The Children’s SPOA will assess the strengths and needs of a child referred and create a plan to link the child to the most appropriate services.
What is the Children's SPOA Committee?
The CSPOA Committee is comprised of representatives from mental health clinics, case management, housing, crisis services, respite and support services, and parents.  It meets regularly to review referrals and develop plans for children referred.  Referring family members and service providers are encouraged to attend the Children’s SPOA Committee meetings to participate in the planning process.
Who can be referred to the Children's SPOA?
Generally, children and youth with serious emotional disabilities are referred to the Children’s SPOA.  If a child does not have a serious emotional disability but is at risk and in need of help, the SPOA Committee will make recommendations to the family for appropriate services.  Parents or service providers can refer a child.